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The NEFAC Report 
         New England's monthly right-to-know dispatch

      September  2012    
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  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." 

Follow NEFAC's ongoing First Amendment conversation as it develops across New England   Follow us on Twitter

NEFAC opens 

Annual Appeal


   "With newspapers and other media companies taking on fewer FOI legal battles these days, the work of groups like NEFAC takes on even greater importance" 

NEFAC President

 Mary Jane Wilkinson



NEFAC joins 

request for Pfc. Bradley Manning trial documents


The New England First Amendment Institute will feature a stellar faculty leading fellows over a three-day curriculum 
Sept. 30 - Oct. 2  
Records and 'Telling Details" About Police Beating Finally Released in Hartford, Vt.   
By Anne Galloway  

   MONTPELIER, Vt. - I placed a public records request on July 13, 2010, with the Town of Hartford asking for documents I knew would be hard to get.   


  Town police officers had allegedly beaten, pepper sprayed and handcuffed a dazed black man in his own home. I wanted the 911 tapes, dashcam recordings, statements and reports.

    Two other news organizations - The Associated Press and the Valley News - had already asked for the records and had been turned down.  It was easy to see why. The situation was embarrassing for police.  Read more  

Maine Broadens Access Law, Provides Money for Ombudsman
By Mal Leary  
   AUGUSTA, Maine - In a year when Maine Gov. Paul LePage sought a significant erosion of the state access law by getting his working papers exempted, open government advocates not only persuaded lawmakers to strengthen the 
Mal Leary
law, they funded a full time public access ombudsman in the attorney general's office.
     "The public's right to know about the activities of government is a cornerstone of democracy," said Maine Attorney General Bill Schneider. "We look forward to having the means to provide more effective information and assistance to citizens about using the law."  Read more    
Mass. SJC Opens Search Affidavit Sought by The Patriot Ledger
By Jack Encarnacao   

    QUINCY, Mass. - It was something to see. The lawyer who wants to put wealthy Quincy, Mass., developer William O'Connell in jail, and the lawyer

Jack Encarnacao.jpg

who wants to keep him out, were both arguing from the same side of the courtroom.

   Both wanted to continue to shield from public view a search warrant affidavit that details the allegations supporting the statutory rape charges O'Connell faces. This despite a state law that makes search warrants public record after they've been filed in court.  Read more

27 Journalists to Study FOI Law, Investigative Techniques at 2nd Annual Institute
    DEDHAM, Mass. -  Twenty-seven journalists from print, broadcast and Internet media will gather in Dedham, Mass., this month to study FOI law and investigative reporting techniques at what will be the second annual New England First Amendment Institute.
   The Sept. 30-Oct. 2 program is presented by the New England First Amendment Coalition and Northeastern University's Initiative for Investigative Reporting.  Read more
   We welcome contributions to The NEFAC Report from journalists, lawyers, adademics or other advocates of government transparency.
   If you have something to add to the conversation, please let me know. Your  stories, experiences and commentaries have broad appeal and value. - - Larry Laughlin, NEFAC Report editor. ([email protected]).